Posted: June 6, 2013

Please see an earlier post about a case of a man who was probably given a clotting disorder when he was given a liver transplant.  In the original post, which was referenced on this website but presented in full on the Bon Secours website (click here to view), the cause of the clotting disorder was never totally nailed down, but it was Dr. Stark’s opinion that the plaintiff had been given the Factor V Leiden mutation along with his new liver, a clotting disorder wherein the liver makes an abnormal Factor V (5th of the 13 recognized clotting proteins).  All of his clotting woes occurred after the new liver.  As the case proceeded to trial, the experts on both sides fired amended reports at one another.  In the state in which the case was heard there was no opportunity for the attorneys to depose, or question under oath, their adversarial experts.  The doctor’s lawyers conceded that the man had a clotting disorder of some sort, but blamed the plaintiff for being non-compliant about taking his anticoagulants.  The plaintiff’s attorney, concerned that his client’s past history of alcoholism — which after all led to the liver transplant in the first place — would not sit well with the jury.  Both sides were increasingly jittery about the outcome of a jury trial, so at the eleventh hour they reached an out-of-court settlement that gives the injured party substantial financial assistance but is arguably less than he could have received from a sympathetic jury.   The plaintiff’s attorney has never had his client tested for Factor V Leiden.  Sadly, the plaintiff underwent an intestinal transplant to replace his intestine which was destroyed by the catastrophic blood clot, but the new gut has never functioned well and the man continues to be in and out of the hospital with complications from the transplant and his poorly functioning small intestine.   Dr. Stark’s final comments: ” This is a one-in-a-million case, fascinating but very rare.  The negligence was minimal but the results catastrophic.  It would have been intellectually satisfying to find out why the clotting occurred but I guess we’ll never know, since no one is interested in rocking that boat.  As with many malpractice cases, the issues become secondary to the jockeying by the lawyers.”